Fred, now a tropical depression, is here. Its outer bands have been rolling over the Smokies all evening and will continue to do so as the heart of the storm churns its way north today. In fact, if the storm was strong enough to still possess a defined eye wall, it would be slated to pass directly over Mt. LeConte.
A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for our area, from 8:00 AM today until 8:00 AM Wednesday. Fred is now expected to unload 4-6” of rainfall on the mountain, with locally heavier amounts possible elsewhere, especially the NC side of the park. Wind gusts of 30mph are forecast for the daytime hours, and up to 35mph later tonight. Temps will be on the cooler side, as the lodge might not escape the 50s.
All roads and trails accessing the mountain remain open at this time. Guests with reservations for tonight are advised an early start and should not delay. Consistent and heavy rains will likely swell creeks by the afternoon. Trails like Rainbow Falls and its hazardous crossing of LeConte Creek should be avoided during significant wet weather events. Other unbridged drainage crossings along Trillium Gap and Bull Head pose similar hazards. Alum Cave has the benefit of numerous foot bridges, is the shortest path to and from the summit, and has the added benefit of being the most trafficked trail should you find yourself in a pickle needing assistance.
Fred should dissipate by Wednesday morning and then the rest of the day looks pleasant and partly cloudy. So folks enduring sour skies today will be treated to a better descent of the mountain tomorrow. Please make note of any downed trees or newly created trail hazards so that they can be addressed promptly by the NPS.
Be safe and have a great day.